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West Coast Memories

When I was a kid, I spent about one week every summer on the west coast in Sweden, in a little town called Strömstad; a quaint, little town that lives up tremendously every summer when hordes of tourists arrive. My grandparents used to rent a little cottage there, in a little community a few miles from the city, just by the ocean; for two weeks each year. One week out of those two every summer, we packed all our stuff into the little yellow Fiat we had, and drove down.

I have fond memories of that place. For some reason it seems like we always had sunshine. The salt sea, the crying of seagulls, little rocky islands in the glittering sea... We went on trips to Halden in Norway, and my sister and I watched cartoons every morning on cable television. There was always tons of fresh fish, lobsters, and all the seafood you could ever wish for, although I'm not sure I was crazy about seafood back then. It does bring a memory or two, though.

About the only sad part of that was the grueling drive down from Skövde to Strömstad: It took four hours of driving - about 240 long, tedious kilometers. To manage it all, we divided the trip up into four 60-kilometer legs, and stopped for fika out in the countryside in between each leg. That way it was manageable to us. In retrospect it must have been so much like a typical Swedish, idyllic pastoral.

Twenty years later, headquarters for my company is now located in Stenungsund, an industrial port not a far ways off from Strömstad. And about once every two weeks, I get on the train at 6.53 in the morning (grunt), and head down for meetings, meetings and meetings (occasionally we have more meetings on top of that). Sometimes I drive - mostly in the summer - and it's funny how what used to take my dad four hours, now takes about three*. Of course I return the same evening. :)

The attached photo is from the bus drive from Gothenburg to Stenungsund, the final leg of my 2h30m commute this morning. It's on the "final approach" into Stenungsund, with one of the hotels I sometimes stay at in the distance. There's supposed to be a few large bridges out there too, but they didn't end up in the picture.

This kind of travel feels more and more like a commute like any other to me. Four hours of driving - down there and back again - is a piece of cake. My best guess is, the 3600 miles of travel I spent with Dan and George across ten different U.S. states must have broke me in. :)

Things sure do change, don't they?

*) Projected distance to Strömstad instead of Stenungsund.


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